Published in 92 parts. Parts are paged continuously; each consists of eight pages, except the last, which has four
First published in 18 weekly installments by Edward Lloyd in The people's periodical and family library, issues 7-24 (21 Nov. 1846 to 20 Mar. 1847); in a greatly expanded version as a penny-part serial in 92 parts (the first four parts issued together) from about 1847-1848; then as a single volume in 1850. The title of the first number ("The string of pearls, or, A sailor's gift : a romance of pecular interest") was revised to "The string of pearls, or, The barber of Fleet Street : a domestic romance" in the course of publication, and a new preface was added
Written by James Malcolm Rymer; cf. Smith, H.R. New light on Sweeney Tood (2002), cited in Mack. Previously attributed to G.A. Macfarren and Thomas P. Prest; also to Edward P. Hingston and to Albert Richard Smith
Illustrated with 89 unsigned wood engravings, one on the first page of each part, except for nos. 1-4, the only numbers issued together, which have only one engraving. Some illustrations are by J. Reading; cf. Mack
Publisher's advertisements printed vertically in the inner margins of individual numbers
Text printed within double fillet border
RBC copy: Binding: Contemporary vertically ribbed green cloth; spine lettered and ruled in gilt; housed in green half morocco slipcase and chemise. Page 449 misnumbered "9"
Mack, R.L., ed. Wonderful and surprising history of Sweeney Todd
James, E. & Smith, H.R. Penny dreadfuls and boys' adventures
November 21, 2019 Subject:
The String Of Pearls
If the above title seems unfamiliar, a summary of the plot might help. In London in 1785 was a barber's shop run by Mr Sweeney Todd. Some of the customers who entered his shop were never seen again. Next door was a shop that sold excellent meat pies. Enough said.
There were many versions of the Sweeney Todd story, but this one is the longest and quite possibly the best. It's the full-length 1850 version, a weekly serial running to 732 pages with 89 dramatic illustrations. As was often the case in those days, the illustrations appear in the wrong episodes (typically three weeks early), but to make up for this they are clearly captioned. My favourite caption is "Mr. Lupin crushes the corpse to make room for his murdered wife."
It's hard to say exactly how many murders occur in this story: some are clearly described, while others are darkly hinted at: about 18 to 25 seems a good estimate, along with a few mysterious accidents.
Between the abundant horrors, the author has wisely interspersed moments of mystery, suspense and some excellent humour. Therefore, despite its considerable length, the tale provides compelling reading right up to the final page. I really enjoyed it!
November 21, 2015 Subject:
Annotated Digital Edition of this Text
An exciting, suspenseful, witty and haunting story from Edward Lloyd's "fiction factory" in Salisbury Square, The String of Pearls is the earliest source of the urban legend of the "demon barber" Sweeney Todd.
Want to enjoy The String of Pearls in an annotated digital edition with a critical apparatus? The first instalments will be ready soon. To learn more: #jmr_dh